Our Family Adventure // Part 2
Glacier National Park, Montana
After days of hiking in the dry heat and cooking sausages late night over an open fire we knew we wanted food that someone else cooked that did not involve Bry building the fire. Also the new Harry Potter book had just come out and Addie needed a book store. Bozeman, Montana seemed like a great stop on our way to Glacier where we could accomplish both of these things. If you are ever in Bozeman please have breakfast at Nova Cafe. You won't be sorry. And no one will mind if you look like forest monsters who have not showered in days. This was the best breakfast we have ever eaten and just an all around awesome town. If you missed Part 1 of our cross country road trip you can find it here.
From Bozeman we headed to St. Mary on the eastern side of Glacier and our next campsite. By this time the kids were settled into the routine of setting up camp and everyone knew their jobs. As we pulled in to the campground tired, filthy and starving the attendants led us know they had free hot showers AND a pizza delivery service by way of 4-wheeler that would deliver pizza right to our tent. I don't think we have ever been so happy. This made up for the fact that we ran into a black bear right outside the campground (luckily we stopped in time and he was unscathed) and the fact that our tent site was in a berry patch. We had been warned to be especially careful around berries to avoid snacking bears and now here we were with berries literally hanging over our tent. One of life's greatest lessons...beer and pizza make almost anything ok.
We woke up to a cold and rainy day but this place has so much magic even the clouds just made her more beautiful. It was also our 14th wedding anniversary which was pretty awesome. We drove Going to the Sun Road through the park and stopped and hiked around again and again and again because every stop was even more gorgeous than the next. We saw bears every single day we were there- and I even got a picture of one. Of all the places we went on this trip Going to the Sun Road was the most magical for me. Glacier is so wild and rugged and felt the most desolate. There were far fewer tourists due to the road being impassable for buses. This is a place I will return to. This is a place I hope my kids return to someday and remember me. It is also a place predicted to be completely without glaciers by 2030 due to global warming. Glacier National Park will have no glaciers left. Let that sink in.
Hiking with Kids. I included this first picture because people often say to us that our kids must be so cool- I think they are pretty great but they are still kids. The reality is that hiking with your children is hard and they aren't always into it. They get tired and cranky. This was a trip Addie and Abe both had reservations about and anxiety about before we left. My daughter loves everything planned...where we will be sleeping, when and what time we will be eating. She doesn't love to come across wild animals without a lot of warning. My son loves to spend his summer swimming with his cousins and he was worried about missing soccer camp and time with his friends. All of us had to stretch our souls a bit and deal with being uncomfortable. To see what a tired cranky kid looks like see the image below : )
Banff National Park, Alberta Canada
From Glacier we were headed to the place that was the impetus for our whole trip. Bry has always wanted to go to Banff National Park in Canada and we we couldn't wait to see that turquoise glacial water. We crossed the border relatively quickly at a remote crossing and made our way north...way north to the Tunnell Mountain Campground. Our tent site was amazing with a killer view AND wood is free at Canadian National Parks. How cool is that? However, there was a water issue and the showers and bathrooms were locked and unusable. Not cool considering the water temperature in the lakes. Oh and it started pouring. So that was fun too. And then Addie got super sick and had to be taken to a hospital but when I googled "closest hospital" it said "Closed for the Weekend". Luckily, we found a clinic and I ran in like Shirley McClaine in Terms of Endearment screaming for someone to help my kid who was at that point puking all over the car. Did I mention we had to pay for everything with cash since we were in another country? After many bags of IV fluids, 3 different kinds of anti-nausea meds and an IV of Demerol I found out that healthcare is SO, SO much cheaper in Canada and Addie was on the mend. My nerves, however, were fried. Bry scored us a hotel room since she was a bit out of it and it was still pouring and our tent waited patiently for us to return. Just another day on the road y'all.
We spent two days recuperating and had to really scale back the hikes we had planned. We were all just so happy Adeline was ok. And really how can you be sad with two healthy kids and a view like this? We were still able to see and hike around Lake Louise, Moraine Lake and Peyto Lake and drive the Icefields Parkway.
Moraine Lake looks every bit as amazing in person as it does in pictures. It also involves a scramble over floating logs to get to the famous rock pile which you can climb up to enjoy the view. Abe looked at it like his own personal American Ninja Warrior course and sailed over to the other side. I struggled with the slippery logs and poor Addie slid completely off and plunged her leg into the glacial water. We laughed a lot about that but when her foot went numb it was less funny. That water is cold.
If you take a look at a map you will see that Banff is quite far from our final destination which was the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This was a long haul. We drove through Canada much of the way and it amazed us all how incredibly flat the great plains are. F L A T. You can watch complete storm systems miles away. Between podcasts (Malcolm Gladwell's Revisionist History was our favorite) and storm watching we were quite entertained. We stopped at a motel in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan and then another in Minnesota. Easily one of the coolest parts of the journey was looking at a map and picking a random town as a stopover and just driving around.
So we get to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan and it's raining. It keeps raining. And I had chosen a primitive campground with no water- so no showers or flush toilets- just pit toilets in very wet outhouses. But the water of Lake Superior was more than warm enough to swim in so all was well. Who needs to shower anyway? And the next day the sun came out.
Our last night we toasted to our adventure. We were all sad and also all very dirty. It was the absolute best month of our lives and as anxious as the kids were to see our dog (shout out to Caroline- the best dog watcher in the whole world) they were also in awe of all we had done and seen. For kids who had been a little nervous about the adventure they were so adaptable. They were so damn fun to be around and they never complained. They may have been tired and hungry and cranky but they never once asked if we were there yet. They didn't fight. They didn't have cell service or tv or a bed or a toilet that flushed for weeks at a time but we had them and their undivided attention for a whole month and that was everything.